Daily Insights

Social Media’s Favorite Food

By: Susruthi Vasudevan | Sep 16, 2019

Social media’s favorite food? Snacks.

Snack food, confectionery and ice cream brands top social media scores across platforms tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food US. They are particularly successful on Instagram, driven by strong enterprise performance from brands in the Mars, Mondelez and Hershey portfolios. Leading brands like M&M’s, Halo Top, Reese’s and Lay’s consistently feature their products front and center on Instagram, with the most successful posts generating a buzz around new and seasonal flavors through giveaways and ingredient-led imagery.

While Halo Top features new flavors in six out of its top ten posts as measured by total interactions, M&M’s engages with its audience through posts calling for followers to vote on favorite flavors. While brands’ static posts garnered over thirty million interactions from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, video posts accounted for just 21% of Instagram posts but gained 67 million views in the same time frame. Gartner L2 analysis of video content during the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019 showed that sixty of the top one hundred videos on Instagram across fourteen sectors center around inspirational or emotion-inducing real-life footage—content found in less than a quarter of the top one hundred videos on YouTube and Facebook.

Among tracked food brands, Oreo and WW (previously Weight Watchers) account for high shares of videos among the top ten brands on Instagram, following celebrity/influencer content best practices. Oreo promotes limited-edition products and WW features memes and a custom hashtag, #WWAmbassador, while other brands leading in video, like Nutella, focus on sped-up recipes. Overall, Oreo, WW and Nutella represented 31% of total video views on Instagram despite making up under 8% of all studied video posts. Ad spend continues to shift toward digital video and is expected to grow from $14.2 million in 2018 to $18 million in 2019.

As 90% of consumers indicate that videos influence their purchase decisions, brands must master video content development and delivery. On Instagram, brands should leverage sped-up or looping videos that are visually appealing and optimized for mobile.